Abdullah Bin Salam (R.A.)

Al-Husayn bin Sallam was a Jewish rabbi in Yasrib who was widely respected and honoured by the people of the city even by those who were not Jewish. He was known for his piety and goodness, his upright conduct and his truthfulness. Al-Husayn lived a peaceful and gentle life but he was serious, purposeful and organized in the way he spent his time. For a fixed period each day, he would worship, teach and preach in the temple. Then he would spend some time in his orchard, looking after date palms, pruning and pollinating. Thereafter, to increase his understanding and knowledge of his religion, he would devote himself to the study of the Torah.
In this study, it is said, he was particularly struck by some verses of the Torah which dealt with the coming of a Prophet (Peace be upon him) who would complete the message of previous Prophets (A.S). Al-Husayn therefore took an immediate and keen interest when he heard reports of the appearance of a Prophet (Peace be upon him) in Makkah. He said: “When I heard of the appearance of the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him), I began to make enquiries about his (Peace be upon him) name, his (Peace be upon him) genealogy, his (Peace be upon him) characteristics, his (Peace be upon him) time and place and I began to compare this information with what is contained in our books. From these enquiries, I became convinced about the authenticity of his (Peace be upon him) prophet hood and I affirmed the truth of his (Peace be upon him) mission. However, I concealed my conclusions from the Jews. I held my tongue…
Then came the day when the Prophet (Peace be upon him) left Makkah and headed for Yasrib. When he (Peace be upon him) reached Yasrib and stopped at Quba, a man came rushing into the city, calling out to people and announcing the arrival of the Prophet (Peace be upon him). At that moment, I was at the top of a palm tree doing some work. My aunt, Khalidah bint-e-Al-Harith, was sitting under the tree. On hearing the news, I shouted: Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar! (Allah is Great! Allah is Great!’ When my aunt heard my Takbir, she remonstrated with me: ‘May Allah frustrate you…By Allah, if you had heard that Moses (A.S.) was coming you would not have been more enthusiastic.’ ‘Auntie, he (Peace be upon him) is really, by Allah, the ‘brother’ of Moses (A.S.) and follows his religion. He (Peace be upon him) was sent with the same mission as Moses (A.S.).’ She was silent for a while and then said: ‘Is he (Peace be upon him) the Prophet about whom you spoke to us who would be sent to confirm the truth preached by previous (Prophets (A.S.)) and complete the message of his (Peace be upon him) Lord?’ ‘Yes,’ I replied. Without any delay or hesitation, I went out to meet the Prophet (Peace be upon him). I saw crowds of people at his door. I moved about in the crowds until I reached close to him. The first words I heard him say were:
‘O people! Spread peace…Share food…Pray during the night while people (normally) sleep… and you will enter Paradise in peace…’ I looked at him (Peace be upon him) closely. I scrutinized him (Peace be upon him) and was convinced that his (Peace be upon him) face was not that of an imposter. I went closer to him (Peace be upon him) and made the declaration of faith that there is no Allah but Allah and that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is the Messenger of Allah.
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) turned to me and asked: ‘What is your name?’ ‘Al-Husayn bin Sallam,’ I replied. ‘Instead, it is (Now) Abdullah bin Sallam (R.A.),’ he (Peace be upon him) said (Giving me a new name). ‘Yes,’ I agreed. ‘Abdullah bin Sailam (It shall be). By Him who has sent you with the Truth, I do not wish to have another name after this day.’ I returned home and introduced Islam to my wife, my children and the rest of my household. They all accepted Islam including my aunt KhaIidah who was then an old lady. However, I advised them then to conceal our acceptance of Islam from the Jews until I gave them permission. They agreed. Subsequently, I went back to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and said: ‘O Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him)! The Jews are a people (Inclined to) slander and falsehood. I want you to invite their most prominent men to meet you. (During the meeting however), you should keep me concealed from them in one of your rooms. Ask them then about my status among them before they find out of my acceptance of Islam. Then invite them to Islam. If they were to know that I have become a Muslim, they would denounce me and accuse me of everything base and slander me.’
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) kept me in one of his rooms and invited the prominent Jewish personalities to visit him. He (Peace be upon him) introduced Islam to them and urged them to have faith in Allah…They began to dispute and argue with him (Peace be upon him) about the Truth. When he (Peace be upon him) realized that they were not inclined to accept Islam, he (Peace be upon him) put the question to them: ‘What is the status of Al-Husayn bin Sallam among you?’ ‘He is our Sayyid (leader) and the son of our Sayyid. He is our rabbi and our alim (scholar), the son of our rabbi and alim.’ ‘If you come to know that he has accepted Islam, would you accept Islam also?’ asked the Prophet (Peace be upon him). ‘god forbid! He (R.A.) would not accept Islam. May god protect him from accepting Islam,’ they said (horrified).
At this point I (R.A.) came out in full view of them and announced: ‘O assembly of Jews! Be conscious of Allah and accept what Muhammad (Peace be upon him) has brought. By Allah, you certainly know that he (Peace be upon him) is the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) and you can find prophecies about him (Peace be upon him) and mention of his (Peace be upon him) name and characteristics in your Torah. I for my part declare that he (Peace be upon him) is the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him). I have faith in him (Peace be upon him) and believe that he (Peace be upon him) is true. I know him.’
‘You are a liar,’ they shouted. ‘By god, you are evil and ignorant, the son of an evil and ignorant person.’ And they continued to heap every conceivable abuse on me…” Abdullah bin Sallam (R.A.) approached Islam with a soul thirsty for knowledge. He (R.A.) was passionately devoted to the Quran and spent much time reciting and studying its beautiful and sublime verses. He (R.A.) was deeply attached to the noble Prophet (Peace be upon him) and was constantly in his (Peace be upon him) company.
Much of his time he (R.A.) spent in the masjid, engaged in worship, in learning and in teaching. He (R.A.) was known for his sweet, moving and effective way of teaching study circles of Sahabah (R.A.) who assembled regularly in the Prophet’s (Peace be upon him) mosque. Abdullah bin Sallam (R.A.) was known among the Sahabah (R.A.) as a man from Ahl-al-Jannah”- the people of Paradise. This was because of his (R.A.) determination on the advice of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) to hold steadfastly to the “most trustworthy handhold” that is belief in and total submission to Allah.